7 Questions with… A League of Their Own’s Freddie Flintoff, Jamie Redknapp and Romesh Ranganathan: ‘There’s a lot of love’
BT TV catches up with the stars of Sky One’s smash hit entertainment series to cover everything from Freddie Flintoff’s ‘debagging’ pranks to BMX accidents.
Watch the new series of A League of Their Own on Sky One with NOW TV from August 20th.
“It’s been 15 series now and if you’d seen the first one, you probably wouldn’t have thought we’d get to do two,” says Freddie Flintoff.
“They were rough them first series!”
The former England cricket captain may be exaggerating, but the continuing rise of Sky One entertainment series A League of Their Own is showing no signs of slowing down.
From a simple panel show format which brought together comics and sports stars, the series has become an entertainment behemoth with Road Trip specials and A-list guests and has even inspired remakes in Germany, Denmark, Australia and most recently, the US.
Series 15 lands on Sky One on Thursday, August 20, but it will be the first time the show has aired with no involvement from presenter James Corden who was unable to travel due to COVID-19.
Panel regular Romesh Ranganathan and team captains Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp step up as hosts and the trio are just pleased to be out of the house after months of lockdown.
BT TV caught up with the lads to find out what we can expect from the new ‘socially distanced’ episodes…
1. Why do you think A League of Their Own has lasted 15 series?
Jamie Redknapp: “We all get on well, Freddie, Rom, James. You can’t force that. If it’s not real and authentic, people see right through that.
“The fact people we give as much stick as we do, comes from the fact there is a lot of love on this show. We’d all be prickly if that wasn’t the case. We can all say whatever we want and it won’t offend.”
Romesh Ranganathan: “I’d agree with all that apart from sometimes it does offend me. You do take things too far.
“Jamie hit the nail on the head. On panel shows you often see a lot of jokes, but this is the panel show that is the closest to a group of people getting together and hanging out.
"You can’t fake that and it comes across to people watching the show.”
Freddie Flintoff: “We just have a laugh. And with no audience, it’s also helped that because it just turns into a chat. It’s not really work. You feel bad that you get paid.”
Jamie: “It’s easy, not forced or hard work.”
Freddie: “Don’t say that Jamie – they’ll dock our pay.”
Jamie: “You just said we’d do it for free!”
Romesh: “Can I just state for the record that none of us would do this for free. Thank you.”
2. Who are your favourite guests this series?
Freddie: “How good was Andy Murray? He was a comic!”
Romesh: “I think it’s safe to say you’ve never seen Andy Murray like you see him on this show. Absolutely crazy. I could not believe it. Honestly, he could probably tour.”
Freddie: “I thought we’d got Jamie Murray for a minute. I thought we’d got the wrong one.”
Romesh: “We’ve got Alan Carr, Jimmy Carr, Tom Davis, Jonathan Ross. We have the big games and the VTs. The only difference is we don’t have the studio audience in with us.
“I don’t know how it will come across in the final product, but I think for the sports stars, not being faced with hundreds of audience members, they don’t get too rabbit in the headlights. You don’t get the footballers s***ing themselves and it’s easier to get something from them.”
3. How do you guys rate Romesh’s sporting talents?
Jamie: “As you will find out in this series, he is an unbelievable BMX-er. And it’s a wonder he didn’t get in the Olympics. His prowess on a BMX bike - he was like E.T."
Freddie: “I think it’s safe to say, Romesh hasn’t missed his calling."
Jamie: “It’s a good job he’s funny.”
Freddie: “And some people would query that with you.”
Romesh: “When I first started on the show, part of me thought there might be a sport where I suddenly discover a skill or a hidden ability. I think all of us have now accepted that’s not on the cards."
Freddie: “That’s how you got the regular job on the show. Everyone saw we could have some fun with this lad.”
Romesh: “I like to think it’s down to my comedic abilities, but you’re probably right. They thought, he’s such a shabby bastard at anything physical, we can probably make him cry.”
4. Has COVID-19 changed any of the physical parts of the show?
Jamie: “I’ve not missed Freddie trying to debag me, I must admit.”
Freddie: “The worst part of that is, I’ve seen so many opportunities and I can’t.”
Romesh: “I’ve long wondered what it was going to take to make Freddie Flintoff bearable to work with. It turns out, a global pandemic. Because he actually can’t get near you. It’s the only way to stop him.”
5. Have there been any injuries this series?
Romesh: “We did a BMX race. During the training I came off the bike and dislocated my thumb. The thing I was most worried about was whether I’d be able to wipe my own a**e at the end of it.
“I was practising the movement in the hospital, because that’s a test my marriage can’t handle.
“In my head the accident felt quite spectacular. I’ll leave it to viewers to watch how it really went down. It wasn’t quite how I remembered.
“But when you watch the BMX injury, watch Jamie Redknapp’s reaction by the way. When I’m in so much pain that I’ve been put on gas and air. I won’t say any more than that, but just check out Jamie’s conduct.”
Freddie: “Did you have gas and air when you broke your wrist Jamie?”
Jamie: “I was actually going to play golf in the afternoon, but they said I should get it checked in case. It turned out to be a double break. Romesh doesn’t like to milk it much Fred, does he? The Milky Bar Kid.”
Freddie: “That cow is dry he’s milked it so much. And he’s a vegan.”
6. Who is your dream guest?
Jamie: “I’d love Pep [Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola]. Pep or [Livepool boss Jurgen] Klopp.”
Freddie: “Yeah, they said no. A fat no.”
Romesh: “We’re supposed to say something like the schedules didn’t work, but it was just a straight no.”
Freddie: “Tyson Fury would be brilliant.”
7. If you had to go into lockdown with one co-star, who would you pick?
Romesh: “The truth is that’s a very awkward question for me and I’ll answer it honestly for you. Jamie and Freddie would go into lockdown together and I’ll be on my f**king own. What you’ve done there is absolutely mugged me off.”
Freddie: “We’d FaceTime you. Every week.”
Jamie: “We’d let you come over and stand outside the house.”
Freddie: “A tough question that. It’s like choosing between your kids.”
Romesh: “Yeah, only if you think one of your kids is awful.”
Freddie: “We could all social distance in Rom’s new house. I’ll have the East Wing Rom.”
Jamie: “Oh it’s a joke, his new house.”
Freddie: “It’s in two different postcodes that one.”
Watch the new series of A League of Their Own from August 20 at 9pm on Sky One with the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.